First Baptist Church of Yazoo City welcomes a new pastor and youth pastor to spread the love and Gospel within the community. And both men embrace that calling with a desire to teach, preach and reach others with a moving message.
Pastor Byron Pickering arrived at FBC last month, and Youth Minister Tiki Broome joined the local church last summer. Both men said they are excited to bring the Word to the Yazoo community, a place that both said they were called to be.
“God brought us here,” Pickering said, of him and his wife Charlotte. “It was no doubt that the Lord brought us here.”
“The kids have embraced me here,” added Broome. “There is no other place so appealing or desirable for me to be. God has provided me with a close-knit community that has offered me friendship, relationships and a church family.”
Pickering, a native of Vicksburg, graduated from Mississippi State University and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He pastored his first church in South Carolina, and he led other churches in Macon, Miss. and Sulligent, Ala. before arriving in Yazoo City.
Broome grew up in Austin, Texas before relocating to Clinton to attend Mississippi College. He served at churches in Clinton and Meridian prior to arriving in Yazoo City.
“I fell in love with the youth of this city and the community here,” Broome said. “The Lord showed me that this was the place I needed to be.”
Pickering grew up in Vicksburg in the Methodist church, completing confirmation at 12 years old. But he admits that his relationship with Christ had not truly developed at that time.
“If you were to come look at my life over those next eight year, I don’t know if you could find a shred of evidence that I knew Jesus,” he said. “I made some horrible decisions.”
It wasn’t until he ran into a former classmate at MSU that things began to change for the young man.
“God used a girl who went to high school with me,” Pickering said. “She said, ‘Byron, what has happened to you?’ That was just a jolt for me. I was living at a fraternity house at the time, and I went back to my room and looked in the mirror. God opened my eyes to see what He saw. I saw that I was lost.”
Pickering said it was a dark time in his life. True, he could answer questions in Sunday School. But he said he was not truly trusting in Christ his Savior.
“When you truly come to a place where you believe that on that cross, He died for you…that is when I said, ‘God, forgive me,’” Pickering said. “That was the beginning of my relationship with God.”
Broome said he was saved in the tenth grade of high school. But he also admits it was a journey to get where he needed to be in his relationship with Christ.
“I remember church and religion being one of those things that high-class people did,” Broome said. “I remember the Gospel being presented to me by a man from Alabama named Wade Morris in a real authentic way. I believe in that moment that not only did God die for my sins, but that I should follow him and others should hear that truth.”
Broome said he didn’t recall feeling that the people before Morris who came to his neighborhood were authentic in representing Christ or even giving a true testimony of who God truly was until he encountered Morris.
“I felt the Lord putting on my heart to share and be a vessel,” Broome said. “That refined in so many ways from my sophomore year in high school throughout college. The Lord made it very clear to preach and teach His Word.”
After asking for God’s forgiveness, Pickering continued his pursuit for a chemistry degree. He wanted to become a pharmacist. He enjoyed listening to sermons and thought about ministry. But he didn’t feel the call at the time. He returned home to Vicksburg for several months and even spoke with a Methodist preacher.
“But I still had no desire to go into the direction of ministry,” he said. “I was still very much an infant, a baby, in Christ.”
Returning to MSU, Pickering changed his major to accounting. But, along the way, he met two friends who invited him to the Baptist Student Union.
“That started something incredible in my life,” he said. “I was around people who knew Jesus Christ as their Savior. I got involved with Bible studies, and from the very beginning, God gave me a passion for His Word. As I studied His Word, it was like a rocket taking off. It seemed like my relationship with the Lord took off.”
At the BSU, not only did Pickering gravitate towards ministry, but he also met his future wife Charlotte. He would later fall in love with her on a mission trip.
“I started getting consumed with ministry,” he said. “I turned to Psalm 37: 4. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
From there, his journey into ministry truly began. That relationship grew deeper, and a passion developed to teach His Word.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to pastor here in Yazoo City,” Pickering said. “There is a great staff here, and I look forward to working within the community. The city has called me to spread that ministry. Yazoo City will know the Word and love He has for it.”
Broome said the Lord’s direction has always directed him in the oddest yet exciting ways.
“The Lord has stopped me in my tracks,” Broome said. “I desire to be a vessel, to show that Jesus is there for us all and that God can call people back to His Word. Focus on Him. I want to help others see Him through my eyes.”